Mum’s the word – What is your password

Mum’s the word – What is your password? Let me guess… is it one of the following: 123456 with 7/8/9/0 added, qwerty, password, 111111 or did you make an effort and go for 1q2w3e4r?. About one in three of you now believe I am either psychic or can see you sitting at your PC screen – if it is the later I suggest you put that down get some clothes on and go out for some fresh air. This is taken from a list of the top most common 25 passwords. Apparently over 50% of us still use these to protect our valuable personal data with 17% opting for 123456! (I added the exclamation mark).

We do this because it is easier than dreaming up the sophisticated sort we in IT recommend. We would advise, 8 characters or more, combining numbers, upper and lower-case letters and special characters that did not resemble a memorable word. Not only should you have such a strong PW but you need a different one for each secure login and you need to change it at least every 3 months. No wonder we prefer to take the risk of losing our life savings.

Do not fear – why not consider password management software? These cleaver applications will not only remember all your passwords but enter them for you when online, help generate new and complex ones and some can even report on how good your current ones are and how to fix them. Many will also assist you in filling in online forms. I recommend LastPass4.0. the free version is great for most and if you need more bells and whistles upgrade to the paid for Premium version. (If you are a business user please check with your IT provider beforehand)

KRACK – Somewhere in your house / office is a box with some flashing lights that emits a signal around your house allowing everything to connect to the internet and report back to Google what socks you are wearing.  This saves you having little cables running all over the house. To make sure this is secure, all such devices use standardised protocols to protect you. the main one being WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Devastatingly a flaw has been found recently code named KRACK, making it possible to eavesdrop on your data while using Wi-Fi, this is true for all modern protected Wi-Fi networks! This flaw allows devious types to potentially steal data like bank and credit card details.

To resolve this, you should update the firmware on the router and / or call your ISP and ask for advice. Or call Genmar.

Free or not so free? – many of us do not think twice about using all sorts of digital payments. We took to online banking and using little gizmos and codes via the internet, we happily took to PayPal even though we have never seen one of their banks in the high street and so many of us now use contactless (there needs to be a new name for this?). Apple-Pay, launched properly 2016, allows you to use your mobile phone like a contactless card, acting as a “digital wallet” for non Apple users you can use Android (Google) Pay – both have every increasing uptake from the markets and both promise that no bank or credit card data are passed in the transactions. There are differences and I strongly advise you carefully check-out what you are signing up for before adopting one or other. What I found interesting is one big difference. Apple state in their T&C’s that they do not take any info regarding the purchase made at all. This is not quite true but close. Google state in their T&C’s that they will take pretty much all the data they can and keep it. This is all in its infancy and I am sure many changes to come but read your T&C’s before signing up.

Top Tip – for those of you not wanting or needing Microsoft’s excellent but expensive Office Suite (Word, Excel etc.) why not try LibreOffice. Very similar but also very free!

Best Buy – Colour Inkjet Printer Canon Pixma MG5750 – £68 eBay

App of the Week – Stitch – dating app specifically for the over 50’s (no I have not tried it)


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